Flores de Música
Works and verses by various organists. Fray Antonio Martín y Coll.
In 1662, the Franciscan organ builder, Joseph de Echevarría built a brand new organ for the church of Santiago in Bilbao. For the first time, he included a corneta de ecos which, unlike the French echos de cornet, could be played on the same main manual. A few years later, in 1672, he included an improved version of this stop for the instrument in the Cathedral at Calahorra, where the corneta en ecos also had a “comeandgo” mechanism which made the music seem like it was moving further away or getting closer, producing, in essence, a crescendo or decrescendo effect. Doing this is technically simple, but the effect is ingenious. The pipes for this stop are enclosed in a wooden box whose lid can be opened or closed by moving the organist’s foot or knee whenever he wanted to.
A little later, around 1674-5, Echevarría was in Alcalá de Henares, building an instrument for the conventof San Diego. In this extraordinary instrument he not only included echo boxes for the corneta, but also for the clarín [clarion] and flautado [principal] as well. Besides this, he also invented a stop called the clarínes. The pipes in this stop actually extend horizontally outside the case and look like canons on the side of a battleship. In the following years, Echevarría included these “echo effects” and the famous “artillery-like clarions” in all the organs he built in and around Madrid, as well as in the Basque Country and in the Cathedral at Palencia. These instruments and these stops marked the beginning of a new technique and a new aesthetic approach to organ building in Spain.
After Echevarría’s death in 1691, his students and followers expanded upon these concepts, first in Castile, Galicia and Portugal and later in Andalucía. From there it spread to Mexico. And, from 1730 on, there were practically no organs in Spain or its colonies that were not aware of -or influenced by- these developments, and they quickly became defining elements of the Spanish (Iberian style) organ up to the present day.
This process was, undoubtedly, reinforced by the presence of organists who appreciated the inherent values in these novel concepts and, as performers, they were able to effectively implement them. That is to say: besides building a new type of instrument, a new repertoire had to be created in which the clarines and ecos played a prominent role.
Among the musical sources related to this new type of music and the new instruments which were being built in the last 25 years of the 17th century, the manuscripts of Antonio Martín y Coll (1671- 1734), now preserved in the National Library in Madrid, are clearly the most important both in quantity and quality. Antonio Martín y Coll was a professed monk at the monastery of San Diego de Alcalá, where he played the clarines and ecos on the famous Echevarría organ. It was here in this city that Martín y Coll studied with Andrés Lorente (1624-1703), organist at the church of Sts. Justus and Pastor. Starting in 1707, Martín y Coll was organist at San Francisco el Grande in Madrid, and thus, came into contact with musicians at the court of the first Bourbon King, Philip V.
One of Martín y Coll’s five extant manuscript volumes is collected under the title “Flores de música. Obras y versos de varios organistas” (BNM, M 1357) with the date 1706 on the front cover. It does, indeed, contain versets and various kinds of pieces by a number of different composers. Unfortunately, the copyist only identified the composers of two works, one by Xaraba and another one by Francisco Paulo Capocio, who was violinist at the Royal Chapel in Madrid and active around 1680. Certain concordances from other source material have also helped us to identify Andrés de Sola as one of those other “various organists” whose works Martín y Coll copied out, but the rest of the pieces are presented as an enormous mass of music by otherwise anonymous composers.
However, unlike other things Martín y Coll copied out, manuscript M 1357 is mainly devoted to pieces in the modern style related to ecos and clarines. So, the music can be dated between 1680-1710 and can be said to have originated in two major centers: the Zaragoza School and the Royal Chapel (Madrid). Both musical centers had a number of musicians and composers in common who were active in both centers around this same period. One example of this can be found in Diego and Francisco Xaraba, who both studied with their uncle, the blind organist from Daroca, Pablo Bruna. Diego Xaraba was appointed to the post of organist at the Royal Chapel in 1677 where he remained until his death in 1716. Francisco, who succeeded his uncle as organist in Daroca, was also employed at the Royal Chapel in 1687, although he died shortly after that, in 1690.
Another connection along these same lines is frair Joseph Sanz, who was member of a line of organists from Aragón, together with Francisco and Juan. The present state of research does not allow us to know with any certainty the details of the various posts they held. We do know that Joseph Sanz was educated in Daroca. And later, was apparently organist in Seville, Toledo and Ciudad Real before entering the Royal Chapel, where he stayed until 1691. Martín y Coll, in fact, dedicated his Arte de canto llano to him in 1714.
Andrés de Sola (1634-1696) succeeded his uncle and former teacher, José Jiménez, as organist at the Cathedral of Zaragoza. De Sola then taught Sebastián Durón (1660-1716) who was later employed at Seville and Burgo de Osma and, in 1686, became organist at the Cathedral in Palencia. It was here that Durón took part in the building of the famous Echevarría organ, in all probability, as a consultant/ assessor. In 1691, he entered the Royal Chapel, succeeding Joseph Sanz as organist. Later on, he was to become rector at the Royal School for Choirboys, and was in charge of organizing theatrical productions at the Buen Retiro and in Aranjuez.